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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town Of Peshtigo Hears Building Inspector Issues

Issue Date: December 6, 2018

A special Town of Peshtigo Board meeting was held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. for the purpose of discussion and possible action in regards to status of the current Building Inspector.

Chairperson, Denise Wiedemeier announced, "The reason we are having this meeting is because we have had a lot of complaints and issues with the current building inspector, Leo Krivickas".

The main things that came to the attention of the Board was that Krivickas is appointed by the board and if he subcontracts or hires an assistant he can only do that by approval from the Board.

Krivickas didn't let the board know he was leaving the state for a period of time and going to Alabama. In his absence, he appointed Ron Banach as his assistant, but per direction from Krivickas, Wiedemeier cannot contact Banach directly, they have to call Krivickas and then he will contact Banach.

The issue with that is in trying to contact Krivickas many times he doesn't answer his phone and when leaving a message it takes a long time for him to get back to anyone.

Wiedemeier asked, "Where do we direct the people to, if we don't even know he's gone?" He also took all of the files to Alabama and is not being responsive to phone calls. If residents have questions about the status of a permit the Town cant help them because they have no files to review. Also, it is taking months for residents to receive a new permit or get back to them with answers to questions they may have about pending permits.

Supervisor Dan VanBeek said, "If Banach is Krivickas' fill in, then he should be the main contact in Krivickas' absence and we shouldn't have to contact Krivickas first. It needs to change".

The building inspector contract states the inspector must hold regular office hours at the Town Hall and he has not done that. It now worsens with him not being available for several months. The Town has lost all control. Wiedemeier stated, "He can't change what we appointed him to do in the Town of Peshtigo".

In one instance, Krivickas did not get back to a Town of Peshtigo company in a timely manner that was in the process of buying a clearance building and the company lost out on the purchase.

Wiedemeier said, "That was a loss of a tax base and we can no longer operate like this". She then asked Fire Chief, Mike Folgert "Are you happy or unhappy with him"? Folgert commented, "One concern I have is on occupancy permits, we need to make sure these move forward and I need to see these permits and plans. If I don't see them, then I stumble into problems when it is being built or after it is already built". "Trying to correct things after the fact is hard to to do, we have to catch things upfront".

Wiedemeier then asked Folgert, "Do you get word on openings of new buildings"? Folgert responded with, "Actually no, I hear about it in the newspaper or word of mouth".

Folgert stated the files need to be accessible. In the instance of a fire, sometimes insurance companies call for when a resident took ownership of the property and without having access to the files we cant give them a quick answer.

Folgert also added the Town receives money from the state if the department meets certain criteria for inspections, public safety training, etc. Also when a business changes from one occupancy to another type of occupancy, there could be different rules that apply depending on what the building is changed to.

Changing from a warehouse to a mezzanine, a mezzanine to an office building, a residence to commercial and vice versa, a commercial to a residence, for instance, are all things he needs to be aware of and is not being informed. Different fire walls and fire barriers may need to be changed based on what the building changes to. These are falling through the cracks with nobody taking care of it right now.

Folgert said, "We have an issue with Crossroads, with the change of ownership, the group that is going to manage the facility is following the rules to get the proper permits and inspections and the inspection is on hold without having anyone to do the inspection at this time. They need a permit and building inspection and they can't get it done in the absence of anyone being able to do it".

Krivickas needs to contact the State of Wisconsin for an inspection and after that an occupancy permit can be issued. An occupancy permit cannot be issued until the State gives final approval. Folgert added, "We have an instance where the group is following the rules and now can't go forward". In the instance that Krivickas is not qualified to do certain inspections, he is then supposed to contact someone who is certified. In some instances this has not been done and the inspection was approved by him and issues were found later after fire inspections were completed.

Wiedemeier then called the Town Secretary, Nikki Dionne into the meeting for her input. Dionne said, "Krivickas doesn't answer the phone and doesn't respond back to phone calls of residents and they are getting frustrated". The Town then gets the phone calls from the frustrated residents.

Wiedemeier also commented that Banach spent a whole morning in the office trying to track down files. When Wiedemeier did get ahold of Krivickas, he said he will package up some of the files and send them to the Town.

Town Clerk, Clarence Coble made a recommendation to contact Banach and tell him what is going on to see if he can do the job in Krivickas absence.

Without a Zoning Administrator now, from Krivickas stepping down from that position, Wiedemeier said she has been in contact with Tom Smith from Tom Smith Inspections, who is inspector for the City of Peshtigo. Smith said he would be willing to do zoning for the Town and he sent a five page letter about his business and qualifications. He has his own website with a link for residents to print their own building permit to be submitted to the Town and his website is user friendly.

Coble stated, "Dionne is doing all of Krivickas' state reports in the office and he should be doing them. It is a struggle for her to gather all the information needed for the reports". "We shouldn't have to have three people doing a job that one person can do". He suggested to send Krivickas a 30 day notice of non-renewal of his contract.

Coble also stated we need to go by the guidelines of hiring a building inspector. We should have Smith meet with the Board for questions they may have. Folgert also commented that he would like to be included when they meet to let him know of his concerns.

Coble commented to have a 30 day completion timeline and send Krivickas the 30 day notice of non-renewal of his contract. Anything pending from now until end of December needs to be taken care of by Krivickas and as of Jan. 1, the new replacement, whether it be Smith or another candidate.

In other action, the Board discussed the Deputy Treasurer position with Liz Monnette, who was in training decided not to take the position. The Board discussed how to go forward with filling the position. Current Treasurer, Vilas Schroeder presented a draft of a hiring ad to be submitted to the papers.

Wiedemeier commented, "We want someone who has a long term commitment. You know how long it takes to learn everything about the Township, not only the budgets and grants, but all activities that go on in the town because everything affects the budget".

With everything that needs to be learned about the position, Schroeder said he is not going anywhere and will be willing to stay until the new person is fully trained.

The help wanted display ad was unanimously approved at the meeting to start in the Dec. 5 edition of the Peshtigo Times for two weeks and will also be advertised in other venues. The Board is hoping to review the applications/ resumes at the January meeting and make a decision in February after final review.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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